September 29, 2023 – Ottawa, ON: Tomorrow is the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation when we will join the rest of the country to reflect on the tragic history of residential schools and the myriad of impact this history has had on Indigenous Peoples and their communities. This day also marks Orange Shirt Day, an Indigenous-led grassroots commemorative day inspired by the healing journey of residential school survivors and their families. On Orange Shirt Day, Canadians commit to the ongoing reconciliation process and reaffirm that Every Child Matters.

“Dentists and oral health professionals join with people across Canada in reflecting on the tragic and painful legacy of residential schools. We honour survivors and we honour the memories of those lost,” says CDA President Dr. Heather Carr. “Our journey of reconciliation — as individuals and professionals — involves listening, learning, and continuing to explore ways to address the oral health inequalities that exist between Indigenous and non-Indigenous individuals to this day.”

For over three decades, CDA has advocated for improved access to oral health and care for First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples. There is no doubt that Canada needs substantially more investments to improve access to clean water and oral health professionals in rural and remote communities. We continue to urge the federal government to act on our recommended improvements to the Non-Insured Health Benefits (NIHB) program, as it finalizes plans to expand national dental care for all.

“Today and every day, we seek to partner with Indigenous communities to advance reconciliation,” says Dr. Carr. “Through our advocacy and actions, we acknowledge the truths of the past and recommit to a better future.”

To find out more about how you can start or supplement your education on the history of residential schools, visit the Government of Canada’s official page, and join the conversation on social media by using the hashtag #NDTR. For emotional support on this matter, please contact the 24-Hour Residential School Crisis Line at 1-866-925-4419.

About the Canadian Dental Association
The Canadian Dental Association (CDA) is the national voice for dentistry dedicated to the promotion of optimal oral health, an essential component of general health, and to the advancement and leadership of a unified profession. CDA, a non-regulatory authority, is a federally incorporated not-for-profit organization whose corporate members are Canada's provincial and territorial dental associations (PTDAs). CDA represents over 21,000 practicing dentists from coast to coast to coast.

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Canadian Dental Association